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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
London - Tehran - Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran's Top Negotiator: Countries Seek to Neutralize Effects of Sanctions

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani during a meeting with EU envoy in Tehran in January (File photo: AFP)

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani announced that several countries had asked Iran for ways to "neutralize effects of sanctions," noting Tehran is serious about the Vienna negotiations aimed at reviving the nuclear agreement.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei insists on neutralizing the effects of sanctions.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Iran Oil Show 2022, the chief negotiator said the strategic policy is in line with the smart initiative to lift sanctions and thwarted the “enemy's” efforts in stopping the progress and the comprehensive national development.

The negotiator presented his interpretation of "the science of aborting sanctions," discussing three stages of confronting US energy sanctions.

He said the "art" of circumventing sanctions was once the industry's only instrument against George W. Bush's "smart sanctions," which then turned into "technology" to counter Barack Obama's "crippling sanctions" and then into "knowledge" to thwart "sanctions imposed by Donald Trump's maximum pressure campaign."

Bagheri said that other countries subject to sanctions are now seeking Iran's experience in neutralizing sanctions.

He noted the ability of scientists to neutralize sanctions and significantly increase the diplomatic capacity to lift sanctions, adding that this ability would also greatly enhance the country's deterrent power in the face of oppressive sanctions.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal revealed documents that showed Iran's ability to circumvent sanctions by creating a clandestine banking and financial system.

The system comprises accounts in foreign commercial banks, proxy companies registered outside the country, firms that coordinate the banned trade, and a transaction clearinghouse within Iran, which has helped Tehran handle tens of billions of dollars in annual trade.

The chief negotiator noted that the revolutionary wisdom requires "not trusting the enemy and not relying on foreigners, while we use all the capacities of the field of diplomacy to ensure national interests."

Bagheri's statement came after his negotiations with the EU envoy, Enrique Mora, after nearly two months of stalled, slow-paced negotiations hosted by Vienna.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that the trip had gone "better than expected."

"The negotiations had stalled, and now they have been reopened," Borrell told reporters, adding that "there is a perspective of reaching a final agreement."

"These things cannot be resolved overnight," added Borrell, noting that Iran's response had been "positive enough" after Mora visited Tehran.

President Joe Biden has backed a return to the deal trashed by his predecessor Donald Trump but has been frustrated by Iran's demands.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price expressed his appreciation for Mora's visit, noting that "the deal remains far from uncertain."

"It is up to Iran to decide whether it wants to conclude a deal quickly," he told reporters.

"We and our partners are ready -- we have been for some time -- but now it's really up to Iran."

He warned that the United States was preparing for all scenarios, including failing to return to the deal.

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